England head coach Eddie Jones has predicted that just 40% of his 2019 Rugby World Cup squad will make to the showpiece in 2023 in France.
This is despite the fact that the England XV that started the 2019 Rugby World Cup final against the Springboks was the youngest ever to play in rugby's showpiece, with every member of the starting side 30 years of age or younger.
One would think that most of that XV would make it to France with even the eldest starter for England, Courtney Lawes, able to make the 31-man squad despite being 34 come the World Cup.
If we assume that squad size stays the same despite the pressure from the national head coaches to increase the squad size. The mathematics of the head coach, the remaining 40 per cent constitutes 12 or 13 players. “There will be core members of the [2019 World Cup] team who will be able to continue to the World Cup” Jones said.
Form, injuries and age will rule numerous players out of the next world cup as will a player's decision to leave the Premiership making it relatively easy to rule out a number of players automatically.
To start the likes of Dan Cole, George Kruis, Mark Wilson and Willie Heinze are likely to fall out of the squad.
There is doubt whether Joe Marler will continue his career after his 10-week ban from the Six Nations while one would be concerned about a player like Billy Vunipola who has had his struggles with injuries.
Moving to players more likely to continue to the World Cup. From the starting pack from the final, Mako Vunipola would be in the twilight of his career and would still have plenty to offer much like his opposite number Tendai Mtawarira for Springboks. His two front-row partners Jamie George and Kyle Sinckler are almost certainties for the World Cup as too is Maro Itoje, Tom Curry and Sam Underhill, assuming they stay fit and in form.
Ben Youngs could still be in the mix, come time for the World Cup despite his form suggesting otherwise while Owen Farrell and George Ford show no signs of slowing down. Manu Tuilagi is in a similar boat to Billy Vunipola in that he could have his struggles with injuries cutting his test career short.
At 30, Jonny May is unlikely to feature in the next World Cup but it is not improbable with Anthony Watson another near shoo-in if he is fit. The skillful and versatile Elliot Daly will have a few question marks as he will be 31 but his canon boot and versatility should get him in the squad.
Here is our prediction of the 14 players who will make the squad for 2023 from the squad in 2019: